What Mel Did
What Mel Did - two little black girls

Self-inflicted kindness

A week of old photographs and sepia memories – and staring into that little girl’s eyes for a long time this week, I tried to remember what I may have been thinking.

This week has been one of old photographs and sepia memories. It is not often I come across photographs of me as a child, but I found one with mum and two of my siblings (not pictured). Staring into that little girl’s eyes for a long time this week, I tried to remember what I may have been thinking. (Apart from the next bit of mischief I’d be able to find that day, no doubt.)

Certainly pride in the ponchos my twin sister and I are wearing. I’m also beginning to realise my love of colour is rooted in those long-ago days. The ponchos were light blue, our dresses bright turquoise, our blouses lemon yellow and our crocheted caps white… I think.

Admittedly through some tears, I see my children in my face, not knowing then I had the stuff in me to make a pretty good mother. The product of good, old-school parenting, I might have been able to guess at that, but there are things I know now and would definitely go back and tell Mel The Younger, albeit I’m not one who yearns to re-live lost youth. I’d tell her:

Be kinder to yourself.

Stop continually picking at perceived flaws.

To be wary of adults who let children do what they want, whenever they want and with whomever they want. You might think you want more lenient parents, but you will thank the Lord for their lack of permissiveness later on.

Find someone earlier in your life you can be your true self with. Your no hiding, no lying, no papering over the cracks self.

That your mother is trying to save you from yourself.

You are a naughty child, not a bad person.

Be kinder to yourself.

Your first passionate crush will feel like you are the Romeo & Juliet of your times – all heaving bosoms and desperate pleas, but this is the stuff of books and movies and is rarely real.

Trust your instincts as they are based on experiences and things witnessed which have been filed in your subconscious.

When people consistently show you who they are, believe them. (RIP, Maya Angelou.)

That mothers are people. That’s it. Period.

A bad relationship never goes on to make a good marriage.

Be kinder to yourself.

Keep your secrets, but do not be secretive about things which are deeply troubling you.

Education opens doors – not money.

Love does not feel like abuse.

The three little words that should thrill you are: “I love you,” not “You’ve lost weight.”

Be kinder to yourself.

Leaving underwear on the bathroom floor is not classy.

Think of yourself fondly.

Don’t burn your diaries.

Pursue your writing.

You are loved.

Be kinder to yourself.




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